Sarson ka Saag or more aptly called as ‘Sarson da Saag’ is a traditional punjabi vegetable dish that is truly delicious and mouth watering. In Hindi ‘Sarson’ means mustard and ‘saag’ means any leaf based dish. Apart from sarson ka saag a few of the famous of saag are palak saag, chana saag bhaji, etc. Sarson ka Saag is mainly relished during the winters as one can get ample of seasonal green leafy vegetables in the market during this season and sarson is also known to provide warmth to the body.
The authentic Sarson ka Saag is made from mustard leaves (sarson in hindi). Along with that a small amount of spincah leaves (palak) and bathua leaves (Chenopodium album/ wild spinach) is also added. This lends the saag a unique taste along with a velvety texture to it.
Traditionally in Punjab the saag is made from extremely young and soft mustard leaves. Traditionally it is made in a pot and is cooked on a slow heat and thereafter grounded or blended with a traditional blender or ‘mathani’ in the pot itself. This procedure, therefore, gives it a soft and crumbly texture. When making saag, one can also incorporate moderately thick stems of mustard stem. For this you have to peel the outer thick cover of the stem and add the inner soft part.
The mustard leaves usually have a acrid taste of its own. this is the reason it is usually teamed up with spinach and bathua leaves. The ratio of the three leaves to each other is very crucial. For about 1 kg of mustard leaves, take 1/2 kg of spinach and about 300 gms of bathua leaves. I also prefer to add a lot of tomatoes in this recipe which also lends the saag a nice tangy taste to it.
Sarson da Saag is best teamed up with Makki di roti (flat bread made from corn) and is served with loads of butter. Since a lot of butter and ghee goes into these two dishes, it is mainly enjoyed during the winters when the body requires these calories and these two foods help to keep the body warm. I also make green coriander/dhaniya chutney as a side dish and serve it alongside the saag.
Making Saag is not that difficult as it is made to be, but is, indeed a long and tedious process. However, the final delicious saag you end up with is worth the effort you put in.You can make the saag in bulk and it can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Anyhow I like to make it fresh each time and that too in small quantities since freshly made saag tastes much better… and in my home the saag is so loved by everybody that it is consumed within that day itself 🙂
Ingredients for Sarson ka Saag Recipe:
Mustard leaves – 600 gms
Spinach Leaves – 300 gms
Bathua leaves – a small bunch
Garlic cloves – 8-10 (finely chopped)
Onion – 1 medium sized (chopped)
Tomatoes – 7 -8 medium sized (chopped)
Green chillies – 2
Coriander powder – 2 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Garam masala – 1/2 tsp
Oil – 2 tbsp
Salt – As per taste
How to make Sarson ka Saag:
- Wash all the three greens thoroughly under running water 3-4 times. Put the leaves in a pressure cooker and add a cup of water and pressure cook for about 10-12 minutes. When done remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Heat 2 tbsps of oil in a kadhai/pan.
- Add the chopped garlic and green chillies and saute till the garlic turns slightly brown and aromatic.
- Add chopped onions and cook till it begins to caramelize and turn translucent.
- Put the chopped tomatoes and cook till it turns mushy and starts to leave oil.
- When the onion-tomato mixture starts to leave oil, add 2 1/2 tsp of coriander powder and 1 tsp of red chilli powder and saute till the masalas become aromatic.
- Meanwhile grind the boiled leaves in a grinder. Avoid grinding it to a fine paste, rather keep it in a coarse form. It tastes better this way.
- Add the ground paste to the onion-tomato mixture and mix evenly.
- Add a cup of water and adjust salt. Make sure not to add too much water as the saag should be slightly thicker.
- Add 1 tsp of garam masala and stir.
- Cover with a lid and cook on a low flame till the saag turns thick and creamy. Keep mixing in between to prevent the saag sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Your Sarson ka Saag is ready. Top it with butter and serve hot with crisp Makke ki Roti and green coriander chutney.